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CAITLIN HARNETT

caitlin_harnettThe River Runs North

Mushroom Music Publishing

Caitlin Harnett may hail from Sydney but her songs sound like they have been dug up by a time capsule. It is fitting that Harnett spends a considerable amount of time in North America as she writes tunes that have their feet firmly planted in Laurel Canyon.

Harnett travelled to Canada to record her debut, The River Runs North, with the help of Dave Draves (Kathleen Edwards, Howe Gelb) and Jim Bryson. This set of folk songs are in great hands with Harnett having a strong and rich voice (that sounds remarkably like Anna Burley from The Killjoys), that carries these tales of love gone not quite right.

Oh I Have Suffered finds Harnett taking strength out of the failings of herself and others, while Don’t Do Me Wrong is a variation on the same theme on this collection of melancholia. Adding a country sway to proceedings, Harnett is joined by Kathleen Edwards to bring delicious harmonies to the banjo lead Bad Man.

The River Runs North is a slickly produced cohort of songs that documents the heart going south. Harnett writes songs that belie her years, and would appeal to anyone with a passing interest in Joni Mitchell. The River Runs North could only have been bettered by taking a few more risks.

3 stars

CHRIS HAVERCROFT